It’s hard to classify this outstanding beer. Is it an example of the Belgian Strong Pale Ale? Generically speaking, yes. Though it doesn’t really fit neatly into that category, and the label actually states that it’s a Tripel, the heavy-handed addition of hops takes it to Belgian IPA territory. Set the styles aside for a moment and just enjoy! Expect this unfiltered beer to pour a hazy butterscotch, honey-gold color, topped with a massive, thick, meringue-like head. The aroma smacks of honeyish malts and some tropical fruit tones as well as a lemony zest and ample hops. Overall, the nose is bigly fruited and flowery, with flourishes of mandarin oranges and a twinge of pear skin. Complexity looms as even more notes emerge in the bouquet: honey, herbal, grassy hop tones, and a minor note of spicy phenolics and cloves. The beer goes down with yeasty and hoppy spiciness coming to the forefront. The hops not only add a spicy bite, they also have a rather drying, bitter character. Look for prominent orange flavors, with cloves, slight hints of cinnamon, and some woody notes. This is a yeast and fruit bomb! Expect the beer to finish with a lengthy arc of flowery bitterness. So complex. So rewarding. Somehow, the hoppiness does not lead to imbalance; it’s all tied together very well. Floral, fruity, yeasty, hoppy… this beer has a little something for everyone, and a whole lotta something for fans of innovative Belgian beer. World class. This beer is massively complex, and it changes as it warms, so a food pairing is a bit overkill, but pairing with whole boiled lobster served with drawn butter and lemon is a tasty combo. The rich meat and butter are cut by the sharpness and gentle acidity of this beer, and the lemon is a nice complement to the beer’s herbal hoppiness. Guldenberg will also hold up to a spicy Mongolian beef dish, and is especially nice with a fine, sharp blue or a pungent gorgonzola (you could even take it as far as limburger). If you’d like to learn about fine gourmet cheeses firsthand, consider picking up a membership to our Gourmet Cheese of the Month Club. Details may be found at www.monthlyclubs.com.